THE Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) is set to begin a major decongestive exercise today to clear the central business district (CBD) and other parts of the city of hawkers and other traders who have been operating on pavements and other unauthorised areas.
This followed the refusal of the traders to comply with the KMA order to quit their operational areas by last Monday, September 7, 2009.
About 150 security personnel made up of the military, police, fire service and the special task force of the KMA would supervise the exercise, which begins at 6a.m. tomorrow.
After tomorrow, the security personnel would remain in place to prevent the traders from returning to the operational areas.
Mrs Jemima Asare, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of KMA, told the Daily Graphic today that other areas that would be affected by the exercise are Ala Bar, Dr Mensah area, Roman Hill, Aboabo Station, Morocco Area, Zoo Lane and Dunkirk Station.
She said the KMA was in the process of recruiting more city guards who among other things would help maintain law and order in the effected areas.
The PRO stated that structures that had been erected in the areas would be destroyed and the traders driven away.
Bearing in mind the failure of previous decongestive exercises, a special tribunal was being set up to try traders who would prove recalcitrant.
She indicated that offenders could be fined and the monies accruing would be used to sustain the exercise so that the hawkers did not return to the pavements.
The PRO said the satellites markets in the metropolis were still available for the affected traders to relocate to.
She made reference to the last decongestive exercise and said if the traders had co-operated with the KMA, the situation they find themselves now would not have occurred.
According to her, as a prelude to that exercise, KMA officials took the leaders of the traders to the satellite markets and showed them where they could relocate.
However, the leaders petitioned President Kufuor and the then Regional Minister. “All this contributed to the failure of that exercise.”
“This time round, we are determined to ensure that everything goes on well,” she added.
Mrs Asare would not disclose the amount earmarked for tomorrow’s exercise saying it was too early to determine any amount.